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Sep 14, 2013 08:07 AM EDT

Facebook Makes People More Unhappy and Lonely, Study

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Facebook, the social networking website was created to enhance global communication. However, it is now causing more loneliness and reducing satisfaction and happiness among users, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan.

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Researchers claimed that the site is having a negative impact on people's interactions and perception about oneself.

"On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection," said U-M social psychologist Ethan Kross, lead author of the article and a faculty associate at the U-M Institute for Social Research. "But rather than enhance well-being, we found that Facebook use predicts the opposite result-it undermines it."

"This is a result of critical importance because it goes to the very heart of the influence that social networks may have on people's lives," said U-M cognitive neuroscientist John Jonides, another author of the paper.

The findings appear online in PLOS ONE.

The researchers arrived at the conclusion after studying 82 young adults. Each of them had smart phones and Facebook accounts. They texted them at random times five times a day for two weeks. Each text message contained a link to an online survey with five questions:

 How do you feel right now?

How worried are you right now?

How lonely do you feel right now?

How much have you used Facebook since the last time we asked?

How much have you interacted with other people "directly" since the last time we asked?

'The more people used Facebook at one time point, the worse they felt the next time we text-messaged them; the more they used Facebook over two weeks, the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time,' reports the study.

Researchers also found that communicating directly over the phone or face-to-face made people happier.

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